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Is it football season yet?

Red Bryant

Happy Summer Solstice, Seahawks fans.

But wait, hold on. Did you know that while your calendars mark today – Friday, June 21 – as the first official day of summer, those of us on the West Coast actually made the jump from spring to summer late Thursday night? The change of season occurred at 1:04 a.m. ET – that’s 10:04 p.m. PT. So technically, those of us here on the left side of the states were finally able to experience something before our east coast friends. Take that little tidbit to whatever weekend gathering you’ve got on deck.

Now, let’s get to some football – sort of. As defensive end Red Bryant lets you know in our graphic above, there are just 79 days until the Seahawks kickoff the 2013 regular season against the Carolina Panthers at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, N.C. And to help us cope with life without football, here’s a detailed look at what’s going on next week, June 23-28, with your Seattle Seahawks:

Sunday, June 23:

Monday, June 24:

  • The 16th annual Rookie Symposium starts up in Aurora, Ohio, where all 254 members of the 2013 NFL Draft class will report to learn about life in the NFL prior to training camp starting up in late July. AFC rookies are scheduled to report June 23-26 with NFC rookies following suit June 26-29.
  • Seahawks rookies are scheduled to workout at Virginia Mason Athletic Center.
  • Our resident reporter Clare Farnsworth will start up a well-deserved and hard-earned three-week vacation. But the football-content-starved fear not, as Farnsworth has graciously left us with a slew of stories previewing the upcoming season to run in his absence. First up is part one of his nine-part positional series with a look at the club’s quarterbacks – namely, second-year signal caller Russell Wilson.

Tuesday, June 25:

  • Seahawks rookies are scheduled to workout at VMAC.
  • Farnsworth’s positional series continues with a look at the running back group.
  • Wilson’s Passing Academy changes venues, as he hosts day one of his two-day camp in Raleigh, N.C.

Wednesday, June 26:

  • Seahawks rookies are scheduled for their final workout at VMAC before training camp – their pre-training-camp break begins shortly thereafter.
  • Farnsworth will highlight the club’s wide receivers in his positional series.
  • Wilson’s Passing Academy continues in Raleigh, N.C.

Thursday, June 27:

  • Middle linebacker Bobby Wagner celebrates his 23rd birthday. Be sure to wish last year’s AP Defensive Rookie of the Year runner-up a happy birthday on Twitter @Bwagz54.
  • The first of nine Gatorade Junior Training Camps takes place at Cedar River Park in Renton, Wash.
  • Farnsworth will take a break from the positional series on this “Throwback Thursday” – chronicling cornerback Richard Sherman’s time as a track star at Dominguez High School in Compton, Calif.

Friday, June 28:

  • Free safety Earl Thomas kicks off his football camp for kids in Orange, Texas.
  • Second-year cornerback DeShawn Shead salutes his 25th birthday – you can wish Shead happy-quarter-of-a-century on Twitter @dshead24.
  • Farnsworth’s positional series kicks back up with a look at the team’s tight ends.

Saturday, June 29:

  • Thomas’ camp continues in Texas, Wilson’s Passing Academy makes it way to Madison, Wis. and defensive end Cliff Avril hosts his inaugural youth football camp in Green Cove Springs, Fla.
  • Kicker Steven Hauschka celebrates his 28th birthday.

2014 NFL Draft moving to May

2013 NFL Draft - Radio City Music Hall

You may want to hold off on solidifying your viewing party plans for the 2014 NFL Draft.

Yesterday, at the NFL Spring Meeting in Boston, Mass., NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell confirmed that next year’s draft will be held in May as opposed to the end of April, due to a scheduling conflict with New York City’s Radio City Music Hall – where the draft itself is held.

“If we want to move the draft back into the April period, we’re going to have to look at other alternatives. Other cities, other venues,” Goodell said at the spring meeting.

That’s because Radio City Music Hall has plans for a spring show that could conflict with the timing of the draft for several years to come.

“We haven’t found the location in New York that meets our requirements and where we think we can continue to grow the event,” Goodell said. “If we do, that will be one of the alternatives. I think one of the things we have to do at some point is start looking at other cities.”

Proposed dates for the 2014 NFL Draft could be May 8-10, or May 15-17 – a full 2-3 weeks after the draft has traditionally fallen in the past.

Moving the draft back could affect several other NFL offseason dates, surely moving each team’s rookie minicamp deeper into the month of May, and likely altering when team’s start their period of Organized Team Activities (OTAs).


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Spencer Ware Signs Contract

Spencer Ware

Running back Spencer Ware, the Seahawks’ sixth-round pick in last month’s NFL Draft, signed his rookie contract today.

Ware is being used at fullback and tailback by the Seahawks, and his wares have been on display at last weekend’s rookie minicamp as well as the team’s offseason-program workouts this week.

“I want him to learn how to play fullback for us and compete at that spot,” coach Pete Carroll after watching Ware over the weekend. “We’ve seen him run the ball a lot and we know he can. He’s a really aggressive, tough runner and we love that about him. So we’re trying to transfer that nature to the fullback spot.”

In three seasons at LSU, the 5-foot-10, 229-pound Ware rushed for 1,249 yards, including 707 in 2011; and caught 39 passes, with 18 of his receptions coming last season.

The club signed seven of its 11 draft choices last week: defensive tackles Jordan Hill (third round) and Jesse Williams (fifth); wide receiver Chris Harper (fourth); tight end Luke Willson (fifth); defensive end Ty Powell (seventh); and offensive linemen Ryan Seymour and Jared Smith (seventh).

Still unsigned are running back Christine Michael, who was drafted in the second round; cornerback Tharold Simon (fifth) and tackle Michael Bowie, the last of the team’s four selections in the seventh round.


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Seahawks rookies assigned jersey numbers

Christine Michael

Seahawks second-round draft pick RB Christine Michael out of Texas A&M will wear the same number (33) at the pro level that he did in college (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

The 11 members of the Seahawks’ 2013 draft class and nine more that agreed to terms as undrafted rookie free agents have been assigned jersey numbers by the club.

Before rushing to the list below, here’s an important note for those of you who may be looking to purchase a customized jersey of your favorite rookie:

These numbers are subject to change prior to the start of the regular season.

For an up to date reference on player jersey numbers, keep an eye on our roster page.

At a glance, running back Christine Michael, tight end Luke Willson, offensive guard Ryan Seymour, and undrafted strong safety Ray Polk are the lucky four who will wear the same number at the pro level (for now) that they did in college. Undrafted linebacker Craig Wilkins, who wore No. 12 at Old Dominion, never even stood a chance at making that transition, as of course that number was retired for you – the 12th Man – back in 1984.

On to the rookies’ jersey numbers, with the number they donned in college displayed in parentheses.

Draft Picks:

#33 – RB Christine Michael, Texas A&M (College #33)
#97 – DT Jordan Hill, Penn State (College #47)
#17 – WR Chris Harper, Kansas State (College #3)
#90 – DT Jesse Williams, Alabama (College #54)
#34 – CB Tharold Simon, LSU (College #24)
#82 – TE Luke Willson, Rice (College #82)
#44 – FB Spencer Ware, LSU (College #11)
#62 – G Ryan Seymour, Vanderbilt (College #62)
#58 – LB Ty Powell, Harding (College #9)
#66 – G Jared Smith, New Hampshire (College #90)
#73 – T Michael Bowie, Northeastern State (College #61)

Undrafted rookie free agents:

#2 – WR Matt Austin, Utah State (College #4)
#78 – T Alvin Bailey, Arkansas (College #67)
#93 – DE Kenneth Boatright, Southern Illonois (College #54)
#47 – LB Ramon Buchanan, Miami (College #45)
#46 – LB John Lotulelei, UNLV (College #55)
#7 – SS Ray Polk, Colorado (College #7)
#65 – G Jordon Roussos, Bowling Green (College #73)
#38 – RB Dominique Whaley, Oklahoma (College #8)
#45 – LB Craig Wilkins, Old Dominion (College #12)


Jesse “Tha Monstar” Williams brings monster fanbase to Seattle

Jesse Williams

Meet Jesse “Tha Monstar” Williams.

He was the Seahawks’ first of three picks in the fifth round of the the 2013 NFL Draft last Saturday, when the club traded up with the Detroit Lions to make the defensive tackle Williams their own with the No. 137 overall selection. One day later, NFL.com’s Charley Casserly tagged Williams as one of the Top 10 steals of the draft.

He makes his home in Brisbane, Australia, and according to the American Football International Review, is the first indigenous Australian to break into the NFL.

Jesse WilliamsAs you can see, tattoos are a part of his persona. He has the sentence “I stopped checking for the monster under the bed when I realized the monster is me” inked along his right hand and the phrase “YOLO” – an acronym for “You Only Live Once” – running down his left side-burn.

“It’s something my mom always used to tell me, and I try to live that most of the time,” Williams said. “You Only Live Once, I have to make the most of the opportunities. My whole journey, coming from Australia, to Arizona, then Alabama, then continue my way to Seattle.”

Williams helped the Alabama Crimson Tide win back-to-back national championships (2011-12) in his only two years at the university. Before that, he played two seasons at Arizona Western Community College. He can bench press 600 pounds, and despite his massive bulk at 6-foot-3 and 325 pounds, he clocked in at under five seconds (4.9) in the 40-yard dash at Alabama’s Pro Day last month.

When the Seahawks selected Williams, an entire continent took notice. Several reactions from proud Australians poured in via Twitter, congratulating Williams now that his hard work and dedication to the game that he didn’t pick up until his early teens was coming to fruition.

One of the nation’s more notable reactions came from Australia’s head of government – Prime Minister Julia Gillard:

Jesse Williams

A sign on display outside of a Brisbane school (photo by Peter Doherty)

Within minutes “Tha Monstar” and “Seahawks” were trending all across the land Down Under. Australia natives who had closely followed Williams’ path to the NFL were quickly dubbing the Seahawks the nation’s favorite team. And Williams echoed Gillard’s remarks when asked about transitioning to life in the Emerald City.

“Seattle is on the west coast, and I’m pretty familiar with that culture and lifestyle out there,” he said. “I’m looking forward to getting back there. It’s definitely a shorter flight back to Australia from there than it is from Alabama.

“It should be fun once I get out there and get into it.”

It should be fun not only for Williams, but for his entire homeland as they continue to track his journey.


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What they’re saying about the Seahawks’ draft

Seahawks 2013 Draft Class

Here’s a cyber-sampling of what some national pundits are saying about the Seahawks’ efforts in the NFL Draft that concluded Saturday and included the selection of 11 players:

Mel Kiper Jr. at ESPN.com. Grade: B

“We can’t forget one very important point: The first-round pick of the Seahawks is named Percy Harvin, and he’s going to have a major impact on this offense in 2013. I (perhaps unfairly) remain concerned about Harvin’s ability to stay healthy, but the stats show he’s been durable. The selection of Christine Michael was a little bit of a luxury pick for me, but they lack that type of explosive back on the roster, so he offers a different look. They needed to add some rotation depth at defensive tackle and accomplished that with Jordan Hill and Jesse Williams, though I know a number of teams are concerned that Williams will have durability problems. Michael Bowie could stick as depth at tackle, as could Ty Powell at linebacker. I don’t know that Seattle added a starter among their picks, but they certainly added one in Harvin.”

Chris Burke at SI.com. Grade: B-minus

“Seattle used its Round 1 pick to acquire Percy Harvin, so it had to wait until pick 62 to get working. Actually, the Seahawks’ best decisions came at 137 (DT Jesse Williams) and 138 (CB Tharold Simon). The Seahawks had a roster built to roll the dice a bit in the draft, and that’s just what they did with their first three picks.”

Evan Silva at NBC Sports. Grade: A-minus

“Overview: Per GM John Schneider, the Seahawks spent Thursday night watching Percy Harvin’s YouTube highlight reel after sacrificing the Nos. 25 and 214 picks, and next year’s third-rounder in exchange for the NFL’s premier slot receiver. Understandable. The Harvin acquisition is factored into Seattle’s grade. Schneider finally went on the clock Friday night and simply made picks straight off his board. Marshawn Lynch and Robert Turbin? Who cares. Michael is the best player. He’s ours. Harvin, Sidney Rice, Golden Tate, Doug Baldwin? We’ll take Harper and his Boldinian skill set. Williams is an immovable beast who makes us better in the trenches. Pick him. Simon is a press-man corner. Perfect scheme fit. Draft him. Late picks were primarily reserved for small schoolers and test freaks. Upside players who don’t hurt you if they bust. The Seahawks have drafted just like this every year under Schneider and Pete Carroll. Seems like it’s working.”

Elliott Harrison at NFL.com, who lists the Seahawks among his “winners.”

“Like the Bengals, the Seahawks picked up a complementary back, nabbing Christine Michael in the second round. Defensive tackles Jordan Hill (third round) and Jesse Williams (fifth round), who was originally projected as a second-round pick but slipped for medical reasons, should help this club immensely up the middle. Oh yeah; don’t forget the club’s “first-round pick”: receiver Percy Harvin.

Pete Prisco at CBSSports.com, who offers grades on each pick.

Round 2, RB Christine Michael. Grade: B-plus. “I love this pick. Yes, he has some off-field issues, but he is a heck of a runner. Does it fill a need? No. But I like it.”

Round 3, DT Jordan Hill. Grade: B-plus. “This is a vintage Seahawks pick. They get it. This is a productive inside player on a team that faced a lot of adversity.”

Round 4, WR Chris Harper. Grade: B-plus. “Physical receiver who can bat aside press coverage and compete well for the ball while flashing solid RAC ability. He profiles as a possession guy for Seattle who could possibly succeed Golden Tate.”

Round 5, DT Jesse Williams. Grade: A. “After the loss of man-mountain Alan Branch from the interior of their DL, the Seahawks could use some additional depth. They get a run-stuffing terror in Aussie/Alabama product Jesse Williams. His knees are iffy for the long term, but he can start giving Seattle productive snaps from Day One.”

Round 5, CB Tharold Simon. Grade: C. “Simon has great height, frame and shows the kind of hip turn to stay with receivers as they get downfield, but with questions on his feet and overall quickness.”

Round 5, TE Luke Willson. Grade: D-plus. “A steady presence in both Old School and the underappreciated Idiocracy, Willson … whoops. Wait a minute. He’s a TE from Rice who must be smart, but who hasn’t shown up on anyone’s draft lists except for, apparently, Seattle’s.”

Round 6, RB Spencer Ware. Grade: C-minus. “A tough, physical runner who also flashes the ability to catch the ball out of the backfield, Ware faces an uphill climb to make the roster behind Lynch, Robert Turbin and 2nd-rounder Christine Michael.”

Round 7, OG Ryan Seymour. Grade: B-minus. “A competitive blocker who had to face the SEC’s best week in and week out, Seymour could push for a spot given Seattle’s underwhelming guard duo.”

Round 7, OLB/DE Ty Powell. Grade: B. “Powell is somewhat undersized, but has an intriguing mix of speed and explosion. A creative guy like Pete Carroll can probably find a way to maximize Powell’s skills in a sub-package pass rush role.”

Round 7, OG Jared Smith. Grade: B-minus. “A quick, high-motor DT who can be a part of the rotation as Seattle fills the hole left by Alan Branch’s departure.” Note: Someone wasn’t listening. Smith is being moved to guard – a la J.R. Sweezy last year.

Round 7, OT Michael Bowie. Grade: B-minus. “A long and strong tackle who will need a ton of polish; Bowie may be ticketed for the practice squad but could potentially bookend Russell Okung after a few seasons.”


Seahawks agree to terms with nine undrafted rookie free agents

Matt Austin

Utah State wide receiver Matt Austin (No. 4, middle) is one of nine undrafted rookie free agents that has agreed to terms with the Seahawks

As soon as the 2013 NFL Draft came to a close, the undrafted rookie free agent frenzy began.

Less than four hours after the conclusion of this afternoon’s seventh round, the Seahawks announced they had agreed to terms with nine undrafted rookie free agents.

“We were very fortunate in getting a couple guys to come on board here after the seventh round was done,” head coach Pete Carroll said after the draft’s completion. “It’s going to be a really good group again.”

On the undrafted group, general manager John Schneider added, “This was the hardest rookie free agent period we’ve had. Pete was recruiting like crazy just now. We were negotiating with a bunch of guys and once you know that guys are making very hard decisions to come with you, that’s when you know when you’re improving.”

Pos.     Player                           College
WR      Matt Austin                  Utah State
T          Alvin Bailey                 Arkansas
DE       Kenneth Boatright        Southern Illinois
LB       Ramon Buchanan         Miami
LB       John Lotulelei               UNLV
SS        Ray Polk                       Colorado
G         Jordon Roussos            Bowling Green
RB       Dominique Whaley       Oklahoma
LB       Craig Wilkins                Old Dominion

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Happy birthday, and Draft Day, Derrick Jensen

John Schneider, Pete Carroll

General manager John Schneider and head coach Pete Carroll listen in as former Seahawks scout Derrick Jensen made the team’s final two picks of the 2013 NFL Draft over speakerphone

Derrick Jensen had been a scout with the Seahawks for 22 years, but he was forced to retire in December because he’s battling ALS.

Saturday, which just happened to be his 57th birthday, general manager John Schneider and coach Pete Carroll had Jensen make the team’s final two picks in the seventh round of the 2013 NFL Draft.

“We had a really cool moment in (the draft room) where we got him on the speaker phone and he actually made the last two picks for us,” Schneider said. “He joked around with us while he was doing it. He’s doing great.”

Added Carroll, “We were just lucky to have a chance to kind of celebrate with a little bit him today.”


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NFC West day three draft rewind: San Francisco 49ers

Marcus Lattimore

Former South Carolina running back Marcus Lattimore was the 49ers’ pick toward the end of round four

With day three of the 2013 NFL Draft in the books, we take a look back at the moves made around the NFC West, concluding with the San Francisco 49ers.

The Niners started day three by making a splash on a pair of skill position players toward the end of round four when they picked up wide receiver Quinton Patton out of Louisiana Tech (No. 128 overall) and South Carolina running back Marcus Lattimore (No. 131 overall).

Patton earned first-team All-WAC and second-team All-American honors in his final season at Louisiana Tech, when he racked up 104 catches for 1,392 yards and 13 scores. He went on to run a 4.54 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine and will figure into a receiving corps that already features Michael Crabtree, Anquan Boildin, and last year’s first-round pick A.J. Jenkins.

B.J. Daniels

Former South Florida QB B.J. Daniels was the 49ers’ first of three selections in the seventh round

Lattimore found early success with the Gamecocks and was highly touted as one of the best running backs in the country, but his durability is a question. He suffered multiple season-ending knee injuries at South Carolina. However, the 49ers backfield is already loaded up with Frank Gore, Kendall Hunter and LaMichael James, which should allow Lattimore to continue his recovery process.

The Niners followed up by adding defensive lineman Quinton Dial late in the fifth round (No. 157 overall) and linebacker Nick Moody in the sixth round (No. 180 overall). Dial comes into the Bay Area at 6-foot-5, 318-pounds out of the University of Alabama to add depth along the D-line, while Moody measures 6-foot-1, 236-pounds out of Florida State, providing an athletic option at outside backer.

San Francisco closed out their draft with three selections in round seven – South Florida quarterback  B.J. Daniels (No. 227 overall), Iowa St. offensive lineman Carter Bykowski (No. 246 overall), and Rutgers cornerback Marcus Cooper (No. 252 overall).

Daniels, at 6-foot-1, 217-pounds, put up 59 touchdowns in four seasons as signal caller for the Bulls. He added 2,068 rushing yards and 25 scores on the ground in that same span. He joins a young mix of quarterbacks that includes entrenched starter Colin Kaepernick, recently acquired backup Colt McCoy, and former Wisconsin product Scott Tolzien.

San Francisco 49ers
A pick-by-pick look at the players chosen by the NFC West rival San Francisco 49ers in the 2013 NFL Draft.

Round Pick No. Player/School Position Height, Weight
1 18 Eric Reid/LSU S 6-1, 213
2 40 Tank Carradine/Florida St. DE 6-4, 273
2 55 Vance McDonald/Rice TE 6-4, 268
3 88 Corey Lemonier/Auburn DL 6-3, 255
4 128 Quinton Patton/LA Tech WR 6-0, 204
4 131 Marcus Lattimore/South Carolina RB 5-11, 221
5 157 Quinton Dial/Alabama DL 6-5, 318
6 180 Nick Moody/Florida St. LB 6-1, 236
7 227 B.J. Daniels/South Florida QB 5-11, 217
7 246 Carter Bykowski/Iowa St. T 6-6, 306
7 252 Marcus Cooper/Rutgers CB 6-2, 192

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NFC West day three draft rewind: Arizona Cardinals

Alex Okafor

Former Texas defensive end Alex Okafor was the Cardinals’ first selection on day three of the 2013 NFL Draft

With day three of the 2013 NFL Draft in the books, we take a look back at the moves made around the NFC West, continuing with the Arizona Cardinals.

The Cardinals got things started for the West on day three when they used the No. 103 overall pick to select linebacker/defensive lineman Alex Okafor out of the University of Texas. Okafor marked the club’s third consecutive pick on the defensive side of the football after they took offensive guard Jonathan Cooper in round one.

Okafar, who measures 6-foot-4, 264 pounds, was one of the nation’s top pass rushers in 2012 with the Longhorns. He led the Big 12 conference with nearly a full sack per game (0.96), racking up 12.5 on the season to go along with four forced fumbles.

Stepfan Taylor

Former Stanford RB Stepfan Taylor went to the Cardinals with the 140th overall pick

Arizona swung their second fourth-round pick (No. 110) to the New York Giants in exchange for their third and sixth rounders (No. 116 and No. 187). With No. 116 the Cardinals went back to the offensive line when they took the 6-foot-4, 301-pound guard Earl Watford out of James Madison University. He’ll help shore up an offensive line that allowed a League-high 58 sacks last season.

With their lone pick in round five, the Cardinals went with the 5-foot-9, 214-pound Stanford running back Stepfan Taylor. He brings some much needed durability to the Cardinals’ backfield, who has seen current running backs Ryan Williams and Rashard Mendenhall suffer serious injuries in recent years.

The Cardinals added the speedy wideout Ryan Swope (No. 174 overall) and explosive running back Andre Ellington (No. 187 overall) in the draft’s sixth round. Texas A&M’s Swope, who ran a 4.34 second 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine – the fastest at his position, figures to work as a slot receiver in head coach Bruce Arians’ offense. Clemson’s Ellington adds a runner to the Cardinals stable of backs that can provide a “home run” threat with every touch.

Arizona rounded out their draft with the selection of Rutgers tight end D.C. Jefferson with the No. 219 overall pick in the seventh round. The 6-foot-6, 262-pound Jefferson red-shirted at quarterback in 2008, but now represents a physical blocker and developing receiver whose size likely intrigued Arizona’s front office.

Arizona Cardinals
A pick-by-pick look at the players chosen by the NFC West rival Arizona Cardinals in the 2013 NFL Draft.

Round Pick No. Player/School Position Height, Weight
1 7 Jonathan Cooper/North Carolina G 6-2, 311
2 45 Kevin Minter/LSU LB 6-0, 246
3 69 Tyrann Mathieu/LSU CB 5-9, 186
4 103 Alex Okafor/Texas DE 6-4, 264
4 116 Earl Watford/James Madison G 6-3, 301
5 140 Stepfan Taylor/Stanford RB 5-9, 216
6 174 Ryan Swope/Texas A&M WR 6-0, 205
6 187 Andre Ellington/Clemson RB 5-9, 199
7 219 D.C. Jefferson/Rutgers TE 6-6, 262

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